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Under Wraps

The Arc de Triomphe, Under Wraps (Photo by Patty Sadauskas)
The Arc de Triomphe, Under Wraps (Photo by Patty Sadauskas)

UNDER WRAPS

The Eternal Flame at the Arc de Triomphe will continue to burn throughout Christo’s wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe…in time for its debut next Saturday, September 18th. Well, not Christo himself doing the wrapping—the illustrious artist sadly passed away May 31st, 2020, but the project never waned. The national monument is in the process of being wrapped by his team with 25,000 square meters of recyclable silver-blue polypropylene fabric and 3,000 meters of red rope.

The project is the work of Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon who met in the late 1950’s and began three years later to create works of art in public places, although Christo’s name was the headliner. Having once lived near the Arc de Triomphe, he became fascinated by the monument and designed the project as long ago as that, but didn’t live to see it realized till some 60 years later.

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon

Christo with Jeanne-Claude

Self-funded, Christo and Jeanne-Claude refused grants, scholarships, donations or public money, and instead finance the work via the sale of their own artwork, although it will receive support by the Centre Pompidou. Once fully wrapped, the monument will be on view for 16 days, through Sunday, October 3rd. Make a visit to the area now if you want to see it in progress.

For more information, visit their website and the Arc’s site.

COMME UN BOUILLON

Entrée 2.90€! Plat 9.50€! Dessert 3.70€! Glass of wine 2.90€! When was the last time you saw a menu with prices like this? Never? But this still exists, even here in Paris!

The menu from Comme un Bouillon in Paris

A “bouillon” is a kind of restaurant that generally serves traditional French cuisine, including the “bouillon” (soup of broth) that gave these establishments their name. The first bouillons appeared in Paris in 1855 thanks to a clever butcher, Pierre Louis Duval. He offered a single dish of meat and a broth to the workers at Les Halles. By 1900, there were nearly two hundred and fifty bouillons…the first popular “restaurant chain.” The idea was to serve good quality food quickly, and at affordable prices.

A pot of bouillon

A pot of “bouillon”

Comme un Bouillon is just that…and the food is a quality worth at least double what it charges. (But, let’s not tell them.) Well known ones in Paris include Chartier (cheap, but not good) and Le Bouillon Racine (not cheap, but good). At Comme un Bouillon, I had an “Aïoli a la Provençale” for 11.90€, every bit as delicious as its 20€ counterpart in Nice. The restaurant was sadly only partially patronized, which was surprising given the quality and price.

Comme un Bouillon
Address: 17 Rue de Choiseul, 75002 Paris, France
Phone: +33 9 83 59 14 56

The interior of Comme un Bouillon in Paris

The interior of Comme un Bouillon

OTIS, KYLIE AND ROGER ALL UNDER ONE ROOF

Covid-19, confinement and life in general got in the way of spending any time with podcaster Oliver Gee (The Earful Tower) and his artist/designer wife, Lina Nordin. So much so, that one day I woke up and realized they had gotten married, gotten pregnant, had a baby, published two books and now are working on a third! Whew! That’s enough to exhaust anyone, just thinking about it all. But, I made a date for a visit with them in their new apartment near Invalides and see how they were all getting along. I couldn’t wait to meet little Otis, now about three months old.

Oliver and Lina’s first joint book effort was Kylie the Crocodile in Paris, a children’s tale of how a friendly crocodile ended up in the Paris canals, based on an absolutely true story. (Listen to the original story here) Kylie is such a famous crocodile in Paris, that it only seemed fitting that Otis should have a Kylie of his own, so “Aunty A” (me) set out to find one he could love for a long time…and I did…at the BHV Department Store across from the Hôtel de Ville where one can find just about everything except the kitchen sink (it’s true; it’s the one thing they don’t sell!).

The cover of Kylie the Crocodile in Paris

Otis Gee, sleeping with Kyle the Crocodile bought by Adrian Leeds

Otis Gee, sleeping with Kyle the Crocodile

Baby Otis has not stopped Oliver and Lina from working on a new book—Roger the Liger in Paris. Have you ever heard of a “liger?” I hadn’t, but they didn’t make this up. A liger is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger. Like many “mixed marriages,” the offspring can be exceptional beings. According to Wikipedia.org, the ligers “enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions.” They are also quite handsome and this one dances all over the City of Light.

Lina and Oliver with Roger the Liger in Paris

Lina and Oliver with Roger the Liger in Paris

I had a sneak peak at Lina’s highly stylistic and good-humored drawings, getting ready for the printing. She draws in pen and ink, then scans the drawings and lays in the color using graphics software. One must look very closely at her drawings to find all the purposely hidden elements that make for a good test of one’s astute observance.

Advance peek at Lina's drawings...

Advance peek at Lina’s drawings…

Their Kickstarter project to fund the printing of the book reached its goal within hours, but that’s not a reason not to contribute now! For just 20€, you can get your own hardback copy of the book. Roger is as delightful a character as Kylie, so you will not want to miss getting to know him and introducing him to your friends.

CURSE OF LA GRANDE DAME

Poster for the Arts Paris Arts fair in ParisOliver and Lina’s apartment is a short walk from the Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower. The afternoon was stunning and conducive to head that way and see what was going on…which turned out to be way more than I imagined. Obscuring the view of the tower was a quasi temporary building, the Grand Palais Ephémère (designed by the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte), at the foot of the École Militaire and in line with the Eiffel Tower. In it was the Art Paris Art Fair. Sunday was the last day of the fair and as expected, there was a long line to enter—too long for me to take the time to venture in. I had to go around it to get the view I wanted of La Grand Dame herself.

The Grad Palais, site for the Art Paris Art Fair

I was reminded of an incident 25 or more years ago when walking the same stretch on avenue de La Motte-Picquet in front of Ecole Militaire—normally one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower one can have. There was a gentleman walking the same path next to me. The sunset sky behind the Eiffel Tower was a bright pink, silhouetting the tower and picture perfect. The gentleman never once turned to look at the tower. I was shocked as I couldn’t take my eyes off it and thought, he must be awfully jaded not to notice its beauty. I swore that day I’d never become that jaded to be oblivious to the beauty of Paris. And guess what? It can happen to the best of us.

Photo of the Eiffel Tower against a sunset pick sky

Curse: May you live so long in Paris that you no longer notice the Eiffel Tower! Ha!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with Otis Gee in the Gee's apartment in ParisAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with Otis Gee

 

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